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This weekend (President's day weekend, Feb., 2001) I took a trip with my family down to Moab, Utah for some hiking in the southern Utah Desert. I have been to the Arches/Canyonlands area many times before, but always in the spring. We woke up Sunday morning ready to go for a hike into Arches National Park when we realized that it had snowed the night before. Not much snow, but enough to cover the sandy desert and red slickrock (that's sandstone) with a layer of white.

The Arches area is impressive any time of the year, but it truly comes alive after a snow. As we hiked down Park Ave. trail (so named for the impressive vertical canyon walls on each side of the narrow canyon) the sound of running water came to our ears. The sound of a small waterfall echoed off the desert canyon walls and truly brought this area alive. Dry washbeds and hollows in the rocks were alive with water. The normally brown sage was a blue-green color, complimenting the green juniper trees. The mature cytobateria-soil was green with moss in places, truly a contrast to the deep red sand and rock. The moisture on the slickrock brought out the color and the different strata.

If one has visited the desert in the summer or fall you know only half the story it tells. The desert is a place of extremes, the temperature may be in the mid 30s in the morning but in the 80s before lunch. The desert in the summer is a sight to behold, but it comes alive in the cool morning following a rain. If it is cloudy and rainy, take an hour and hike a civilized trail. See the whole story of the desert, you will not regret it and never forget it.